court
court

SUPREME COURT yesterday
affirmed the death sentence
passed on Ayiere GodsGift by the
Court of Appeal in Calabar for the
murder of a teenager, Okon Edem.
Justice Suleiman Galadima,
who delivered judgement, held
that the decisions of both trial and
appellate courts were given in line
with the provision of the law that
criminalised such an act.
Galadima said that the convict’s
action was contrary to Section
319(1) of the Criminal Code
C.16 Vol.111, laws of the Cross
River State 2004. “In view of
the forgoing, I find that the
court below rightly affirmed the
decision of the trial court.
“This was, however, done
after all exhibits were properly
admitted in evidence and acted
upon. In sum, I hold that this
appeal is lacking in merit and
it is accordingly dismissed,’’
Galadima held. He further said:
“the judgment of the court below
which endorsed the judgment of
the trial court is hereby affirmed.’’
The convict’s appeal was
against the judgment of the Court
of Appeal, Calabar Division,
delivered on July 4, 2014. The
appellate court in Calabar had
gone ahead to affirm the judgment
of the Cross River State High
Court delivered on March 10,
2010. The appellant therein was
convicted of the offence of murder
of a teenager, Okon Edem of
Grace and Gold Nursery/Primary
School, Calabar.
GodsGift was accused to have
on Oct. 8, 2007 between 12 noon
and 1p.m. gone to his victim’s
school to kidnap him. It was
alleged that the convict deceived
both the school security man and
late Edem’s teacher as an uncle to
the pupil.
The charge had it that while
the search for Okon was on,
the victim’s father received a
telephone call from someone who
identified himself as “Johnson’’.
It was, therefore, alleged that the
“faceless Johnson’’ demanded for
a ransom of N3million for Okon to
regain his freedom.
The apex court was also told
that on Oct.11, 2007, “faceless
Johnson’’ directed Okon’s father
to take the ransom money to an
operator of commercial centre
at No.B52, Border Road, Ikom.
Galadima said that “Johnson’’
had at the point sent a commercial
motorcyclist, Samuel Ezaka, to
pick up the money from the above
address in Ikom.
Further, the judge held that
testimonies from the prosecution
witnesses noted that it was when
Ezaka arrived to pick the money
that he was arrested by the police.
The court said that as soon as
Ezaka was picked by the police,
the appellant who kept a distance
took to his heels and disappeared.
“Later on that day, the appellant
was also arrested by the police.
However, he denied any
involvement in the kidnap and
eventual murder of the victim.
“The convict was charged before
the High Court. At his trial, in the
proof of his case, the prosecution
called five witnesses and tendered
several exhibits while GodsGift
testified for himself. “At the
conclusion of the trial, the learned
trial judge, convicted GodsGift of
the offence of murder and therein
sentenced him to death,’’ he said.
The court dismissed the appeal
and affirmed the decision of the
trial court. Further dissatisfied with
the judgment, he approached the
apex court by a Notice of Appeal
dated July 15, 2014 containing
three grounds of appeal.
The notice of appeal seeks to know
whether the court below was right in
finding that there was no perversity
in the evaluation of evidence by the
trial judge, among others.


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